Here's Mud in Your Eyes
Close your eyes. Now, imagine yourself going about your daily activities this way. What did you do already today? How would it have gone with your eyes closed?
The alarm goes off tomorrow morning, but your sudden blindness does not prevent you from being able to smack the snooze button. You’ve been doing that in the dark for as long as you can remember. You go to the dresser or the closet to pick out your clothes for the day, but since you can’t see, you can’t tell the color of the clothes you picked out. I feel your pain there! [colorblind] For all you know, you may be wearing two different colors of socks or an orange scarf with a red blouse. I’ve seen some people who looked like they couldn’t see when they got dressed in the morning. As you're vacuuming that afternoon, you hear a screech and a “thwooop”, and you start to wonder, “Was that the cat?” At dinner that night, the kids take one bite of the meal that you prepared and notice that it tastes a little funny. “Mom, are you sure that can was tuna and not cat food?” Now open your eyes. Some of you may need to punch your neighbor in the shoulder to wake him up.
This is in no way intended to poke fun at people who are blind. Next, imagine what your life would be like if you had never been able to see and were suddenly granted the miracle of sight. That is exactly what happened in the life of a man that John tells us about in John chapter 9. [turn & read]
Here's Mud in Your Eyes!
How many blind people are there in our passage? Some would say one, but how about these Pharisees – the religious leaders in Jesus’ day? They were blind spiritually but were unaware of their blindness. They didn't believe, and had no desire for Jesus to do anything in their lives. They did not need a miracle, at least that’s what they thought.
I believe that there are blind people in this church today. Some of you cannot see how much God loves you. Some of you cannot see the extent of your sin that makes you so unworthy of that love. Some of you cannot see a way out of a situation that you have gotten yourself into. Some of you cannot see any hope for tomorrow. Some of you have made or are about to make some decisions about the direction of your life, and you are blind to the pain that those decisions will bring to you and the people that surround you. Right now, you’re stumbling along, and you’re getting all bruised up because of all that you’re bumping into along the way.
Do you believe that Jesus can take away your blindness? Jesus is the Light of the world. He can cause you to see. But that depends on another question. Do you want Jesus to take away your blindness? Let’s take a look at how a miracle happened in the man that Jesus encountered that day. By the time that we get done this morning, my goal is that you, like he, will be able to say, “I once was blind, but now, I see!”
1. Some people are blind to the cause of their blindness –
“Who sinned?” Every time he heard that question, it sent chills up his spine. “They're blaming me for something that happened even before I was born!? How could it be my fault? And they're attacking my parents! I love my parents so much! How dare they say those things about my parents when they don’t even know them. If I could see well enough to punch their lights out, I would!”
Bad things like this don’t just happen for no reason. Right? My marriage has broken up, so I must have been a bad spouse. I got beat up by my dad, so I must have been a bad kid. I lost my job, so I must have been a bad employee. My kids have rebelled against God and are in trouble, so I must have been a bad parent.
Everything that happens in our lives has a reason behind it, though not necessarily how we might think. There are at least 4 reasons for the things that happen to us. They are sin, Satan, sanctification, and to 'show.'
Sin - There are problems that you go through in your life that are created by the sinful actions that you involve yourself in. When a woman gets pregnant by a man that she is not married to, the pregnancy is a result of sin.
7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption;
If you choose to live a life of sin, then you will have to deal with the painful consequences of that sin.
In this category, I would also include bad choices. Not all bad choices are sinful, but all sins are bad choices. If I choose to go out and buy a car that costs $40,000 with an interest rate of 11% for a loan duration of 8 years, I would consider that to be a pretty bad choice. It may or may not be sinful depending on what my motivation was for buying that vehicle. But regardless, I will be reaping the consequences of that decision for at least 8 years.
Sometimes the pain that we face is a result of our own actions. That’s why the Psalmist said in (Psa 139:23-24) Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
The first thing that I need to do when there is pain in my life that I don't understand is to search my own heart and life to discover whether or not I have caused
my pain through my sin or my own bad choices. If there is sin, then Jesus offers forgiveness. If I have made bad choices, then I can do as Paul did and leave the past behind, learn from my mistakes
and find wisdom from God to not repeat the same mistakes.
Satan - Satan is the enemy of Jesus Christ. Since we as Christians have declared our allegiance to Jesus, that makes Satan our enemy too. Satan hates you and me, and he is going to do everything he can to weaken us in our faith and make us miserable. I believe with all my heart that there is a spiritual battle that takes place every day all around us. (Eph 6:12) For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Ask yourself, “This thing that I’m going through - is it an attack from Satan? Are Satan and his forces using it to try
and make me ineffective in my walk with Christ and cause me to stumble?” If the answer is yes, then you need to make sure that you have on the armor of God spoken of in Eph 6:13. The Bible says in
James 4:7b “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
Sanctification - Sanctification is the process that we go through in life that makes us more and more like Jesus. It is a purifying process.
28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
The things that we go through in life, good and bad, will allow God to break us, melt us, mold us and shape us into that beautiful artwork that He originally intended for us to be. Sometimes that can only happen through pain.
The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD trieth the hearts.
Just as gold is purified through fire, so we must be purified through trials that God allows into our lives.
To Show - There are times that God brings pain into our lives to show us and the world that He is the one who is all-powerful, worthy of all the praise and glory, and that we are totally dependent on Him. Do you remember the story of Job? In one day, Job lost all his money, all ten of his kids, all of his possessions, all of his friends, and the support of his wife. On the very next day, he lost his health. His suffering fits into a few categories here. The attacker that brought about his suffering was Satan. God used the attack to purify Job and show him some sinful areas of his life that needed some cleaning. But the original cause of the attack was that God wanted to 'show' Satan that there were people who loved Him so much and were so committed to Him that they would continue to serve Him even when God took His hand of protection away from them. Satan saw, and God received glory.
In Paul’s life, God brought some type of physical problem on him, and asked the Lord to take it away. God refused, telling him that God’s grace was sufficient for him. God gave Paul this pain to show him that no matter how far he came in his spirituality and no matter how much he was able to accomplish for God, he was always totally dependent on God’s grace and power to successfully live the Christian life. Sometimes God brings pain to show us our weakness without Him and to show the world His glory.
That was the case in the life of the blind man that Jesus encountered that day.
v. 3b Had he not been born blind, then there would have been no opportunity for Jesus to work a miracle in his life, and there would have been no display of God’s power.
How do you respond to a need, a hurt, a pain in your life? Can I make a suggestion? Respond to it honestly, as a normal human…it’s ok to feel what you feel…it’s normal. But then I suggest you do your very best with God’s help to mix in some positivity, because a need is an opportunity for God to work a miracle. A need is an opportunity for God to show His power in your life and in His world. Have some faith!
2. Some people are blind to the solution for their blindness (vs. 4-7)
Holy Mud Pie Batman! You want me to believe that a facial is gonna restore my sight?
One of the most important factors in this man’s life that was necessary in order for him to receive healing from his blindness and experience a miracle in his life was humility.
Back up. Maybe that man overheard the short conversation between Jesus and His disciples. He heard the stinging accusation of the disciples and he heard some other words of Jesus that he didn’t fully understand. Then he heard someone spit on the ground. That was nothing new. People often spit at him for his attempts to beg money off of them. But then he felt something. He felt Jesus touching him and smearing mud all over his eyes.
Now I know that mud baths are the “in” thing as far as spas and health clubs go. But I doubt that very many of you would step down into a pool of mud or allow that mud to be applied to your body if you knew that the liquid used to make that mud was saliva. How gross!
After Jesus finished applying that mud to his eyes, He told the man to go wash his eyes in the Pool of Siloam. I wonder why the man obeyed Jesus. There is no record in the text that Jesus promised the man that if he allowed Jesus to put mud on his eyes and go wash, that he would receive his sight. For him to journey to the pool would mean great risk. Jesus and this man were probably near the temple inside the walls of Jerusalem. The Pool of Siloam is outside the walls. It would have been a relatively long journey for the man. The man was usually very careful and slow in his journeys, but his excitement about the possibility of seeing would have caused him to move a little faster than was safe for him. He did not know what he might face along the way. There were bandits outside the wall. People would see him along the way and laugh at him. “Ha, ha! Look at the blind man. Somebody put mud on his eyes! What a joke!” But he didn’t let them stop him. He got a lot of bumps and bruises along the way, but he made it to the pool of Siloam. What made him go? I think the thing that made him go and endure all the risks and all the ridicule was the gentle loving touch of Jesus. You know when God touches you. He had faith, which does not need sight in order to exist! No one had touched him with such love and kindness in so very long. They had all avoided him. But Jesus touched him. Somewhere deep inside him, he knew that anyone who could look past what others saw and love him enough to touch him that way could only have good in store for him. Look at what happened at the end of verse 7.
If you were to go back and examine all the healings that Jesus did in the Scriptures, you would discover some interesting facts. One is that in almost every instance, there was physical touch between Jesus and the person who needed healing. Jesus wanted to get intimately involved in the lives and the pain of the persons that He loved.
Also, in every case, faith in Jesus resulting in action was always necessary before healing could come. Jesus could have healed this man’s eyes immediately, but He
put mud on them and told him to go wash. Why? Because the going and the washing was an evidence of the faith that the man had in Jesus.
If you desire healing in your life, then you have to be willing to humbly come to God and allow Him to touch your life in those most sensitive areas. It may be humiliating. It may be painful. But you must allow Jesus to touch you. You see, it is those areas of your life that you have been resisting His touch that have been feeling the pain. If you don’t allow Jesus to touch there, He can’t heal you.
Praise God for your pain! And let God gently put His hands on the spot.
Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
Have you thanked the Lord for the situation that you are going through and are you allowing your pain to make you better instead of letting it make you bitter?
"Be faithful to God when He has allowed so much pain in my life? You’ve got to be crazy. Pray for the guy who fired me? You’re nuts!"
"Rejoice that I don’t have the money to pay the rent? Give thanks that my child is having problems?" Those all sound ridiculous, don’t they? But they are all tests of the amount of faith that we have in Jesus Christ.
We have faith that He can heal us. That’s great. But do we have enough faith to do what He requires us to do? “But I don’t want to do anything! I just want to sit
here and let God heal me!” It doesn’t work that way. You have to humbly allow Jesus to touch you in those most sensitive areas of your life, and you must humbly obey whatever He tells you to
It is humility that opens the door to God’s working. But it is pride that stands in the way of Him working. It is our pride that gets mad at God for allowing suffering into our lives. It is our pride that tells God that He has made a mistake – that He has no right to allow something in our world to fall apart.
The book of 1 Kings tells the story of Naaman – an army commander who had the dreaded disease of leprosy. God offered him healing if he would come and wash 7 times
in the Jordan River. At first, Naaman refused. His pride wouldn’t let him stoop to washing in the muddy waters of the Jordan. But then because of the humble pleas of a servant girl, he went and
washed, and he was healed. His pride almost prevented a miracle. His pride almost caused his death. Don’t let that be true of you.
Jesus placed a requirement on the blind man. He told him to go and wash in the Pool of Siloam. Couldn’t he have made it a little easier? There were other places that he could have washed that were closer by. The level of difficulty showed the level of faith.
3. Some people are blind to the working of God to heal their blindness. (vs. 35-38)
What seems amazing to me is that the miracle occurred in his life before he ever knew who Jesus was. Prior to the events of vs. 35, all that he knew was that a man who had put mud on his eyes, told him to go and wash in the pool, and now, he could see. Finally, here, he realizes who Jesus is.
Jesus had been working in this man’s life for a long time without the man even realizing it. Even before he was born, God had a plan for him. God had been working.
And throughout his life, God had been working – placing people in his life who could teach him the truths of God’s Word, putting him in a place just outside the temple where he could hear the
spiritual discussions of the people and wonder at their worship. And He waited until this point in the man’s life to bring all that working to the climactic moment of a miracle.
It is possible to be touched by God and not know Him. Now He wants to open your eyes to His love toward you and your responsibility toward Him. Right now, He may be
using pain to open your eyes. How intense is the pain going to have to get before you will respond to what God wants you to see?
God, touch us as you desire, and cleanse our eyes and help us to see!
[idea and some content from Chris Talton]
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